Much like in his college days at BYU, Coach Cahoon was a standout wide receiver catching passes for the Toronto Argonauts. Lining up across from him every day in practice was a cornerback by the name of Torey Hunter. Now, the two will once again be challenging each other this Saturday.
“I happen to know their secondary coach and we were teammates in Canada,” said Cahoon. “His name is Torey Hunter and he’s awesome. He did some things for Idaho last year and I believe he’s coaching the secondary for Idaho.
“We didn’t keep in touch after our playing days, but last year it was fun to see him. I didn’t know he was coaching until I saw him across the field last year. After we saw each other we embraced. It was a lot of fun to see him and now we kind of expect it. It’s going to be fun.”
Cahoon said his old friend gave him a battle each and every day during practice.
“I went up against him every day when I played up in Toronto every day of my life up there,” said Cahoon with a smile. “It was a real battle every single day. He was one of the best and a ball hawk, but, you know, he was a cheating fool like most cornerbacks are. It was a great rivalry.”
Now only was Hunter a skilled cornerback, but Cahoon learned that his cornerback friend also had a flowing gift of gab.
“His mouth never stops, ever,” said Cahoon with a slight laugh. “It wasn’t nasty talk or anything like that, but just fun-loving trash talk. You know, it was not to get too personal but it was constant. It was just constant ribbing that never stopped. We were really close in Montreal and he was kind of the class clown. He was kind of the life in the locker room.”
Did the calm and normally mild-mannered Cahoon ever give his old teammate a verbal taste of his own medicine?
“No, I’m not a very good trash-talker,” Cahoon admitted. “I never said much, but I gave it back to him by making plays on occasion.”
Beating one’s opponent on the field is always the best response. However, Coach Cahoon gives a lot of credit to Hunter for helping him hone his skills as a wide receiver.
“He was just a savvy veteran when I was up there and he had been in the league for awhile, an all-star type guy,” Cahoon recalled. “You needed to bring your A-game every day at practice or, you know, you would hear from him. It made it fun. It was personal at times and then it got where it was fun competition where we tried to make each other better every day.”
Ironically, much of that skill development that Cahoon learned as a player is now being passed on to his players, who are given the task of making plays against the players coached by his old friend.
“No, it’s great and those guys at Idaho play like they’re coached,” said Cahoon. “They take chances and they read routes and they pattern-recognize, wanting to make a big play. With that kind of risk there is a mentality. Then sometimes you open yourself up to get beat on a big play. They’re playing some man-to-man and some zone as well.”
It’s generally the desire of position coaches that their subjects take on a similar style of play to what the coaches did in their younger years. It’s hard to tell whether Cahoon or Hunter might have an advantage, given their familiarity with each other.
“I haven’t watched enough film to detect if his players have taken on his style of play,” said Cahoon. “But, he was an athletic guy who played in the slot. When a slot receiver got into a full sprint and a head start – you know, vertical motion – he would come up and press you with a full head of steam. It takes a special athlete to think he can get his hands on you and stop that. He was a good player, and, like I said, it’s going to be fun seeing him again this Saturday.”